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Buscarini & Others v. San Marino, (24645/94) [1999] ECHR 7 (18 February 1999)

Facts: The applicants had been elected to the San Marinese parliament and took their oath of office in writing, but omitted the reference to the Gospels required by the Elections Act. The parliament ordered them to retake the oath on the Gospels. The applicants complied with this order but claimed that their right to freedom of religion and conscience as guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention had been violated.

Holding: The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 9

Reasoning: freedom of thought, conscience, and religion also implies the freedom to hold or not to hold religious beliefs and the freedom to practice or not to practice a religion. The obligation to swear an oath on the Gospels was thus a limitation within the meaning of Article 9 2. Requiring elected representatives of the people to swear allegiance to a particular religion was not compatible with Article 9.



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